Sunday, May 15, 2016

Where To Buy Art Supplies for Your Classes

I've been asked a lot lately where I buy the supplies for my painting classes. If you've been to wine and paint classes before or are thinking of teaching yourself, you may wonder where all of the lovely items come from.

Well, the suspense is is the list of what I take to every class, where I buy them and how much they cost:

Canvas: I've been buying the flat 16X20 canvas panels through Blick Art Supply because the flatness makes it easier to transport them, especially for classes of 20+ people. I also think they are easy to mount in a frame and add that professional touch to your work. I recently bought 48 of them for $123 (including shipping) for a class of 30. If you're doing smaller classes, it's fine to buy them at Michael's or AC Moore when they go on sale, if you have those near you. I like to buy mine in bulk, so I often just Google what I'm looking for and compare prices online.

Do I always use 16"x20"? No. If I'm hiking up to the Yurt for a Painting Class I go smaller. If I'm squeezing a large group into a small space, I go smaller. If the painting just plain looks better smaller, I go with that. Students do not seem to care much about the size of the painting, but that would be something to evaluate at the end of classes.

Easels: I just stocked up on these for a large class. I bought 30 "Strokes Art Tables" for a total of $218 from Amazon. The price was so low because I signed up for an Amazon credit card and received an $80.00 credit toward the purchase. You can typically find these for around $10 each, but I got mine for about $7.25 each with the credit.

Paint Brushes: Who needs them when you have fingers? Depending on the class, I may use the foam brushes for an intuitive art class, but for the sip and paint classes, I get them from local craft stores.  I like the Royal brand brushes for classes. I've been building up a collection, but depending on the painting, we may need different types of brushes.

Paint: My 2 favorites are Premiere from AC Moore and Liquitex wherever I can find it on sale. You may be able to get good sales on bulk orders online (Blick or Jerry's Artorama) and you can also get economy sizes online. When I plan my paintings, I try to not get too carried away with a lot of colors, because it adds to the cost of running the class.

Aprons: I just ordered 30 lime green aprons from KNG for $130.00. You have the option of adding your logo to the aprons. However, these have a tendency to walk away with people after class (students forget they have them on.) I just lost 5 of them at my most recent class so you may not want to spend a lot on them.(I need to find a good way to collect them as people are leaving-ideas welcome!)

Paper Plates, Cups, Paper Towels and Table Cloths: I typically get these at the dollar store or anywhere they are on sale and I reuse the plastic cups and table cloths until they can be used no more. I did go to a paint class where the teacher used Styrofoam plates with compartments for the paint, which is a great idea, but I don't feel good about putting more Styrofoam into our world, so I stick with paper. I'm looking at more earth friendly ways to furnish my classes.

Other things I take with me: 
  • Pitchers for transporting water and filling cups
  • My real camera
  • My cell phone for keeping track of the time and getting me to the locations
  • More than I think I will need of all supplies for last minute students who may show up
  • Scissors for opening things
  • Plastic Grocery bags to put the wet paintbrushes in after class
  • Any paperwork needed for the site 
  • My Square for accepting credit cards of people who didn't register ahead and change in case they are paying in cash
  • My Easel and my real paint palette (it gives me comfort and strength!) for demonstrations
  • A sample finished painting for guidance (for both me and my students!)
  • Individual print-outs of the painting for students to refer to at their stations (optional and depends on complexity)
  • Any other tools or supplies we may be using for the particular class such as stencils, stamps, markers, collage papers, glue, etc...
  • Email sign-up sheet, if I haven't already collected email during the registration process
  • Satisfaction Surveys-I sometimes ask for feedback on the class, so I can continue to make it better. I find this is best to do during class so you have the greatest chance of getting responses. If you wait until after class and email people, your response rate will be lower.
I transport the smaller items in 2 plastic bins and then bring the random things that don't fit in separately.

Well, I think that's it! I would love to hear if you have found any good deals on supplies or have favorite supplies that you use in classes.

Happy Painting!  Now, off to make some jewelry...


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